Hurricane Ian Will Still Cause Problems for Air Travel

Hurricane Ian Will Still Cause Problems for Air Travel

Hurricane Ian might have lost some of its intensity over the last two days after destroying a good portion of Florida, but it’s still considered a Category 1 hurricane as it churns up the east coast through North Carolina and Virginia today (Saturday, October 1).

And that means air travel is still going to be affected.


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Hurricane Ian absolutely devastated Southwest Florida after coming a shore from the Gulf of Mexico as a Category 4. Ian caused airport closures at Southwest Florida International in Fort Myers, Tampa, Orlando, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, and Jacksonville, not to mention numerous airline delays and cancellations.

More than 2,000 flights were canceled Wednesday into Thursday, when the hurricane first made landfall, 1,991 flights canceled on Friday, and 757 so far today, October 1, at 1 p.m. EDT, according to the online flight tracker FlightAware.

But as long as Ian remains a hurricane, its path is taking it close – or in relative proximity – to airports in Charlotte, N.C.; Richmond, Va.; and, of course, the Washington D.C. area depending on how the hurricane continues to develop or if it breaks up over land.

And, as CBS News pointed out, delays and cancellations not only set back airlines, but airports. In general, it takes 36 hours for an airline to get back to normal operations for every 12 hours it is shutdown. It needs that time to set up equipment, juggle schedules for pilots and flight attendants, and re-book passengers, among other items.

Airport? Even worse.

For every 12 hours that an airport is closed, it takes 72 hours for it to return to normal operations. And as airlines and passengers found out throughout the spring and summer, Florida is the catalyst for much of this since it is estimated by CBS that 30-40 percent of a major commercial airline’s daily flight go through the Sunshine State.

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